I am not in the business of bashing judges, but there seems to be a recent trend of insensitivity on the part of judges. Last week  we saw a judge who criticized a woman who was sexually assaulted at a bar.  This week, Judge Bruce Lamdin of Maryland berated a woman seeking a protective order against her husband who had beaten her numerous times.

Instead of being sympathetic for the female victim, the judge showed more concern for the husband.  He wondered where the husband would live if she got a restraining order against him. He even suggested that she was staying with him for financial reasons.  He stated that “she could have gone to a shelter rather than stay in the house, and she had put money over safety.” Although he eventually granted a temporary protective order, he advised that the temporary protective order is “nothing more than a piece of paper,” further stating that “you can hold a piece of paper up in front of this gentleman, and he can shoot you right through it.”

Often times, abused woman do not seek help or report their attackers because they’re afraid others will judge them for staying in an abusive relationship.  They are often embarrassed about their situation or they feel as though others won’t believe their story.  While this may seem irrational, Judge Lamdin has confirmed that these fears are justified.  He bolstered those fears while berating her in the court room.  Women in these situations are fragile and need support.  When they come to a judge for help, they expect a neutral judge who will hear their case instead of further contributing to their emotional issues.

What is Domestic Violence?

According to the United States Department of Justice, domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to gain power and control over another partner.  It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological. To learn more about Domestic Violence, click here.

What to Do if You Have Been the Victim of Domestic Violence

  • Seek help: Help is available!
  • Call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Report the violence to the police
  • Find a safe place to stay (family member/friends house, safe houses, emergency shelters)
  • Get a restraining order

You may be able to get a restraining order by going to court without a lawyer.  However, sometimes the case becomes more complicated when children are involved.  At that time, you may want to speak to an attorney who is experienced in handling domestic violence cases.  If you cannot afford an attorney, you can always go to a shelter or a local domestic violence clinic and a lawyer will be referred to you.  It may be difficult to explain your domestic violence case to an attorney as it is a sensitive subject.  It may help to write down a few notes before going to meet your attorney.

Do you think Judge Lamdin's comments were proper?